One of the best tools for teaching kids how to code is the Raspberry Pi. At $30, they are cheap enough for most parents. Using the built-in GPIO (General Input/Output), they can connect electrical components and create their own physical computing devices. Since you are unlikely to use the Raspberry Pi as your main computer, your kids will be able to experiment and play without fear of damaging your system or your documents.
But if you’re not a coder and don’t know your Python from your prologue, you might not know where to send your kids. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Here are five simple exercises that will teach your child how to program with the Raspberry Pi.
stuck in raspberry jam
Raspberry Jams are community-run meetings for people to learn (and teach) about the Raspberry Pi. While many tech events are adults-only, Raspberry Jams are open to enthusiasts of all ages. Every raspberry jam I have ever attended has had many children and teenagers in attendance.
The vast majority of Raspberry Pi encounters are in the UK, although there are few in the US, as well as Canada, India, and Ukraine.
What makes these events great is that they are usually directed by adults who have experience using and building the Raspberry Pi. Your children will not be left without guidance. They will receive practical advice and instructions. They learn how to write code and how to use the various Linux operating systems commonly used on the Pi.
Plus, there will inevitably be many other young people there, making this a fun and social event for all ages.
Teach them how to scratch
Things like conditions (where you complete a task if something meets criteria) and iteration (where you repeat something a certain number of times) turn into bright, colorful puzzle pieces that fall into place gracefully. The results of the code play out in front of you as an animation or elemental game.
Your child will never get the job of writing scratch code for a living, but that’s not the point. It’s about taking the code and turning it into something nice and visual, and ultimately making it less intimidating for beginners. There is nothing like it for teaching the fundamental logic of coding.
If you’re looking for a good place to get started with Scratch, take a look at the Raspberry Pi Foundation website, which has posted several Scratch projects for download. They tend to be of an appropriate age and come with clear and concise documentation.